Independent Review of the Creative Industries recommends cash boost for UK games industry

The newly published government commissioned review, The Independent Review of the Creative Industries has suggested that the UK Games fund should receive a further investment of £23.7 million, which is over five times its current level, and that this should be delivered over the next five years.

The UK Games Fund is a fund management group, funded by the government, to help produce games. In the last two years, the £4.2 million investment has aimed to provide grants for creating new video game development businesses and prototype games. It has also helped with talent searching, by funding the Tranzfuser graduate development programme.

The new report on the UK’s creative industries, written by ITV Chair and former Arts Council chair Sir Peter Bazalgette, has suggested that this should be increased along with further support for the industry overall. "The rapidly growing international market for video games offers substantial expansion potential for our games producers," the report says. "Global revenues for video games software and hardware are forecast to be $150bn in 2017 and to reach some $200bn by 2021,with a compound annual growth rate of 7.9%.88 Supporting the games industry in the UK means investing in future skills, techniques and technologies such as simulation and modelling, as well as data analytics that can accelerate innovation in sectors far beyond the entertainment sphere.

"We should move quickly to ensure we are able to fully exploit the video games sector’s huge potential, building on its trailblazing qualities, transferable skills and ability to create compelling (including educational and narrative- driven) content for a growing global audience."

On the recommended increase of funding, the report said: "Whilst the industry benefits from the Video Games Tax Relief, the dedicated public funding is far lower than for TV or film… This is helping to stimulate the production of original British IP but there is an urgent need to continue to strengthen the industry – increasing the volume and range of new games creation, improving the investment potential of businesses and fully exploiting the potential to broaden the impacts across the creative sectors."

The report also looks at the need for better education and a more diverse workforce for the UK creative industries as a whole. "A recent skills audit of UK film and screen industries identified a number of barriers to accessing job and careers opportunities, including financial barriers, lack of networks, knowledge and information barriers, geographic barriers, and attitudinal barriers… Besides moral and legal arguments for targeting barriers to recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, there is a strong economic case. A diverse workforce is pivotal to the innovative and creative processes that give the UK Creative Industries their global competitive advantage."

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